The History of Alaska

The land, people, and education

Events

Berring explorered AK's NW coast, established Russian claim to the territory

1725

The first Russian ships arrive; Russia claims the land. Trappers establish a fur trade.

1741

Father Ioann Veniaminov appointed Bishop of Sitka and Alaska

1841

New Archangel Seminary opens in Sitka with 54 students

1845

Fort Yukon established

1847

No civil government in Alaska

1867

U.S. Secretary of State William Seward convinces the government to buy Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. The purchase is ridiculed as "Seward's folly."

1867

Sheldon Jackson establishes his first AK mission in Wrangell

1877

First Organic Act passed/Steamships begin bringing tourists

1884

Sheldon Jackson is the Federal Education Agent for Alaska.

1885

Gold is discovered in the Klondike River, sparking the Klondike Gold Rush. Tens of thousands of treasure-seekers pour into Alaska.

1896

Liquor licensing system implemented in Alaska

1899

Local communities authorized to found school boards

1899

Alaska Agricultural and Mining School opens; later becomes University of Alaska

1915

President Warren G. Harding drives the last spike in the Alaska Railroad, connecting southern harbors like Seward and Whittier to Alaska's interior.

1923

Alaska Natives recieve US Citizenship

1924

During World War II, the Japanese capture two Aleutian islands. The next year, U.S. forces retake them.

1942

Alaska Highway opened to civilian traffic

1948

First edition of "We Teach in Alaska" issued to remote AK teachers

1957

Alaska becomes the 49th state in the Union.

1959

The Good Friday Earthquake strikes Alaska. It is the most powerful quake ever recorded in North America.

1964

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is completed. Oil flows from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

1977

The Exxon Valdez tanker spills 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, polluting about 1,300 miles of coastline. Cleanup takes more than three years

1989

Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin is chosen by John McCain to run for Vice President on the Republican Party ticket

2008

The minimum wage jumps from $5.65 to $7.15, giving Alaska the highest minimum wage on the West Coast/50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood

2009

Ted Stevens, who served as Alaska's U.S. Senator from 1968 until 2008, is killed in a plane crash with four others near Dillingham on August 9

2010

Lance Mackey wins his 4th Iditarod race

2010

Bering Sea cyclone was one of the most powerful extratropical cyclones to affect Alaska on record

2011

United States House of Representatives election in Alaska was held on Tuesday, November 6

2012

a single-engine de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter, operated by air charter company Rediske Air, crashed and burst into flames at Soldotna Airport in Soldotna, Alaska. The sole crewmember and all nine pa

2013

Aleutian Islands earthquake occurred on 23 June at 11:53 HADT (UTC-9) with a moment magnitude of 7.9 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VI

2014

Sockeye Fire was a 2015 wildfire that occurred near Willow, in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Alaska. By the time the fire was contained, 7,220 acres (29 km2) of land had burned

2015

Old Iliamna earthquake struck in the Cook Inlet region of Alaska near Iliamna at 1:30 AM AKST on January 24, 2016. The quake was centered approximately 162 miles (261 km) from Anchorage, and 65 miles

2016